From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Miffed by incessant abuse of older persons especially in rural areas, the Federal Government has vowed to decisively deal with perpetrators.
Government also disclosed plans to stage a massive campaign against ageism and to ensure that the elderly have legal services in order to access justice when abused.
The Director General, National Senior Citizen, Centre (NSCC), Dr Emem Omakaro, disclosed this in Abuja at a maiden dialogue edition of the Centre with the theme: ‘Leveraging Senior Citizens’ Partnership for Effective Service Delivery.’
She said: “We are campaigning against ageism and barriers. We must promote positive reorientation to change citizens’ perspective on ageism. Old people are not witches.
“Then, we have war against elder abuse. It is the mandate of the National Senior Citizens’ Centre to set mechinery in place to adopt the system that is already in place to fight elder abuse like education, report and rescue and even legal services for access to justice.
“”Anywhere we go, we want to see inclusion, respect and participation of older persons in the community.”
Omakaro, also revealed government’s intension to create income programmes to shore up their revenues, adding that healthcare insurance scheme for retirees would also be institutionalised.
“Government will create income programmes. For those who are already engaged, we can upscale and create more income programmes so that the income scheme will not just be for those who are into entrepreneurship but for senior citizens.
“The social safety nets will soon be launched. But let me not be the one to announce it. Another thing is strategic engagement with stakeholders on how to strengthen geriatric healthcare.
“When we talk about healthcare, we are talking about functional and inclusive primary healthcare. We have nutrition and healthy lifestyle promotion.
“Health insurance for retirees is in the offing. Then we have to create rehabilitation centres,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, charged participants at the meeting to dialogue meaningfully so as to assist government documents their plights for immediate action.
Umar Farouq said: “I encourage the senior citizens to let your voices be heard by your unreserved participation, in keeping with the theme and objectives of today’s Senior Citizens’ Forum Maiden Dialogue which are indicative that, the National Senior Citizens Center intends to forge and leverage strong partnership with senior citizens to effectively deliver on its mandate.”